Chief Officer – Internal Audit
LAST UPDATED 17 Jun 2022
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The role of chief internal audit officers today


Chief internal audit officers (CIAOs), also referred to as head of internal audit or a director of internal audit, manage audit plans for organisations. They represent a leadership role within internal audit such that they oversee general audit processes, are key figures to recommend improvements and suggest policies, and manage whether processes comply with regulatory frameworks.

Naturally, as a senior finance job in Malta or elsewhere, CIAOs also manage internal audit teams and guide them across numerous functions. They assist in recording financial activities and monitoring these over time. Applicants who are interested in pursuing a career as a CIAO should be interested in numbers and have an analytical eye to overseeing general audit processes. Jobseekers should also work to improve their leadership skills alongside audit skills in order to reach managerial roles successfully.


Duties and responsibilities of chief internal audit officers


CIAOs comprise numerous skills to successfully coordinate internal audit activities and supervise teams. Whilst their specific duties and responsibilities will differ depending on the organisation’s size and industry, commonalities between them include:

  • Develop internal audit processes,
  • Strategise various internal policies and procedures,
  • Oversee independent audit activities,
  • Analyse processes for further improvements where needed,
  • Document analyses and share these with stakeholders,
  • Observe any existing vulnerabilities or errors and resolve these, and
  • Collaborate with other management in devising strategies regarding internal auditing.

As illustrated above, CIAOs are integral in ensuring on-site or remote jobs operate effectively alongside business objectives. Their role is truly communicative as they work with internal members of an organisation to address diverse business needs, especially related to internal auditing. They are experts in the field and are therefore key decision-makers when discussing such activities and procedures.


Salary expectations 


The demand for CIAOs is rapidly increasing, leading the career with fast-paced growth capabilities alongside impressive salary raises. The Castille Salary Survey is based on the average gross basic salary ranges we have seen offered in the local market over the last 12 months. This survey is updated quarterly, remaining representative of current market trends.  

For a global perspective, it is worth keeping in mind that sources vary and are subject to change with time. Considering these variances, salaries for CIAO jobs consistently reflect an average salary ranging from $90,000 to $140,000 a year. These numbers vary according to level of experience, specialisation, and other associated living costs. 


Education and qualifications of chief internal audit officers


As a senior role, it comes to no surprise that CIAOs receive at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or another related discipline. Depending on the individual, some do go ahead and earn a master’s degree as well to meet a specialisation. However, as this finance job necessitates certification to practise the role, backgrounds of CIAOs are increasingly diverse. It’s worth exploring the avenues of certifications available to CIAOs and their respective requirements.

Further, receiving an education is important for CIAOs to gain knowledge in auditing and other compliance frameworks they would need to adhere to. It’s critical that these individuals understand the various applicable regulations and guidelines in order to build a successful career in auditing, constructing long-term records of internal and external audits. 

It’s worth noting that because the finance job of a CIAO is an executive one, interested applicants work on gaining valuable experience early-on to demonstrate their extensive knowledge in diverse internal auditing procedures.


Trending technologies and skill sets 

As a collaborative job, it’s no wonder that CIAOs gain their skills in ones such as communication and analysis. Albeit leadership skills typically require some practice over time and experience, in working with various office functions, other trending technologies and skill sets include:

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills, especially when investigating errors within internal audit activities,
  • Communication skills to clearly discuss financial information with various teams and stakeholders,
  • Financial skills, especially knowledge regarding accounting, audit standards, and best similar best practices,
  • Compliance skills to understand diverse regulatory frameworks, and
  • Technical skills to conduct diverse analyses to explore and interpret data accordingly.

The above illustrates the general skills of a finance job that is focused around supporting business professionals whilst ensuring internal structures operate well. They understand current business objectives and help amend these during shifting workplace trends. With the above qualities, CIAOs are able to successfully implement various policies adhering to internal audit standards and contribute to overall business growth in these areas.


Career prospects as a chief internal audit officer


CIAOs typically work in various office environments, including a work from home job. They collaborate with diverse personnel frequently and facilitate internal and external communications. The consistent use of valuable hard and soft skills employed by the CIAO is transferable across organisations, meaning these individuals are able to work in diverse workplace settings.

For jobseekers interested in pursuing a career path as a CIAO, individuals should work to gain valuable work experience in any preferred industry. Applicants must consider their area of specialisation thoughtfully and apply for jobs that are relevant. CIAOs can continue to improve their technical and soft skills through independent learning and keeping up with workplace affairs.

Additionally, CIAOs must remain up to date with changing regulatory frameworks and similar best practices. As experts in the field, organisations rely on these individuals to provide teams with valuable knowledge and strategies to improve internal audit procedures.


Begin your chief internal audit officer career today with Castille 


Now that you’ve critically assessed what working as a CIAO is about and whether it is right for you, you are able to kickstart your career in this ever-growing field. As technology and the workforce continues to rapidly advance, the role of a CIAO remains a career suitable for the long-haul.

Chief Officer - Internal Audit